What Does TV MA mean? (TV-Ma and R Ratings)

What does TV MA mean? Ever wondered about the meaning of TV-MA when surfing through your favorite shows on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Videos, or other streaming platforms?

Here’s a relevant fact for you: TV-MA is a content rating signifying that the program is intended solely for mature audiences.

What does TV MA mean

In this enlightening article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind ‘TV-MA’, breaking down its definition, associated guidelines, audience suitability and how it fares against other ratings. Intrigued? Dive in to uncover what lies beneath those cryptic letters!

Facts, Statistics, and Highlights about TV-MA Programming:

  • In 2022, the MPAA reported that 10.2% of all TV programming was rated TV-MA.
  • Of the top 10 cable networks, HBO had the highest percentage of TV-MA programming at 35.4%.
  • Of the top 10 broadcast networks, Fox had the highest percentage of TV-MA programming at 7.6%.
  • Here are some additional facts about TV-MA programming:
  • The first TV show to be rated TV-MA was “The Sopranos” in 1999.
  • The most popular TV-MA show in 2022 was “Game of Thrones.”
  • TV-MA programming is often more expensive to produce than TV-PG or TV-14 programming.
  • TV-MA programming is often more popular with adults than with teenagers.

Note: It is important to note that these stats are only for the United States. The percentage of TV-MA programming may vary in other countries.

 What does “TV-MA” mean?

“TV-MA” is a television content rating that stands for “Mature Audience.” It indicates that the program contains adult-oriented content and may not be suitable for viewers under 17.

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Understanding TV-MA Ratings

Understanding TV-MA Ratings

TV-MA ratings are used to classify television programs that are intended for mature audiences in the United States.

Definition of TV-MA

TV-MA is a term from the TV Parental Guidelines, meaning Television Mature Audiences. It signifies that the content is intended for mature audiences and does not fit for viewers under 17 years old.

This rating overlaps with MPA’s R rating but applies to television programming specifically. It often suggests that the program will contain explicit language, strong violence, graphic sexual content or other adult themes which may not be suitable for underage children.

The goal of this classification is to provide clear indications to consumers about appropriateness of the show based on age group while maintaining creative freedom for creators.

Target Audience

The TV-MA rating is specifically meant for mature audiences in the United States. It is not intended for children under a certain age, typically 17 and below. This rating is given to television programs that contain content that may be unsuitable or inappropriate for younger viewers.

TV-MA shows often feature explicit languagegore, violencesexual content, or other adult themes. The target audience for TV-MA programming are adults who can handle and understand the mature content being portrayed on screen.

It’s important to remember that this rating serves as a guide to help viewers make informed choices about what they watch, ensuring that they align with their personal preferences and interests.

Guidelines for TV-MA Contents

Guidelines for TV-MA Contents

TV-MA content includes graphic and mature material, strong language and violence, as well as sexual content.

Graphic and Mature Content

TV-MA rated content descriptors often includes graphic and mature content that may not be suitable for younger viewers. This can include scenes of violenceintense languagesexual content, and adult themes.

The TV-MA rating is specifically designed to alert parents and viewers that the program contains material that is intended for mature audiences only. It’s important to note that TV-MA seriess may depict explicit or sensitive subjects realistically, so viewers need to exercise discretion when deciding whether such content is appropriate for themselves or their children.

Language and Violence

TV-MA content often includes strong language and violence. The TV maturity ratings indicate that the program may contain explicit or excessive use of profanity, including offensive language. It is important to note that this kind of content is not meant for younger viewers and parental discretion is advised.

TV-MA programs can also depict intense violence with realistic or graphic scenes. This means these shows may have physical aggression, bloodshed, or even gory imagery.

The TV-MA rating ensures that viewers are aware of the potential presence of mature themes involving language and violence so they can make informed choices about what they watch.

Sexual Content

TV-MA rated programs may contain explicit sexual content. This means that the shows or episodes with a TV rating may include scenes or themes intended for mature audiences and unsuitable for children.

The inclusion of sexual content in these programs is to explore adult relationships, sexuality, or other related topics. It’s important to note that the TV-MA rating ensures that viewers who are 17 years old or younger should avoid watching this type of content as it is specifically designed for adults.

Sex content in TV-MA programs can vary in intensity and explicitness. Some TV show may feature suggestive dialogues, while others may depict nudity, sex scenes, or even graphic depictions of intercourse.

TV-MA vs Other TV Rating System

  • G: General audiences – All ages admitted.
  • PG: Parental guidance suggested – Mild language.  Some materials may not be suitable for children.
  • PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
  • R Rating: Restricted – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
  • NC-17: No children under 17 admitted

TV-MA is more explicit than TV-14, with content that may not be suitable for children under 17.

R-Rating:  This rating is typically given to films with adult content, such as strong language, violence, and sexual content. It is intended for audiences aged 17 and older; a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under this age to view the film.

Differences between TV-MA and TV-14

TV-MA and TV-14, both part of the TV Parental Guidelines, are distinct ratings designed to inform viewers about the content of a program. These two ratings differ mainly in terms of the intended audience’s age and the degree of mature content.

DefinitionTV-MA stands for “Mature Audiences.” It is a rating indicating that the content is specifically designed for adults.TV-14 stands for “Parents Strongly Cautioned.” This rating indicates that the program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under age 14.
Target AudienceTV-MA is intended for adults and may be unsuitable for children under 17.Series or programs are generally suitable for children aged 14 and over.
ContentPrograms with a TV-MA rating may contain explicit language, extreme violence, sexual content, or any explicit adult themes.TV-14-rated programs may contain material that parents or adult guardians may find inappropriate for children under the age of 14. The content is less explicit than TV-MA.

Comparing TV-MA to Movie Ratings (R and NC-17)

TV-MA and movie ratings like R and NC-17 share similar characteristics when it comes to content suitability for mature audiences. While TV-MA is a television ratingR and NC-17 are movie ratings that indicate restricted content. TV-MA and R-rated programs both contain material that may not be suitable for children under 17, requiring parental guidance. However, the key difference lies in accessibility – movies rated R can be watched by anyone of any age with a guardian or parent present, while TV-MA shows are generally only available for streaming or airing on platforms like Netflix.

On the other hand, NC-17 is a movie rating specifically designed for adult-oriented films that goes beyond typical R-rated content. This rating restricts access even further than an R-rating does since no one aged 17 or below is permitted to watch without being accompanied by an adult. In comparison, TV-MA-rated shows have slightly more lenient restrictions in terms of viewership.

Understanding these differences between TV-MA and movie ratings allows viewers to make informed choices about their media consumption preferences based on their comfort levels with explicit language, violence, sexual content, or other adult themes.

What Does TV-MA mean on Netflix, Disney+, and in Movies?

TV-MA is a television rating that indicates the program is intended for mature audiences and may not be suitable for children under the age of 17.  The rating is typically given to programs that contain graphic violence, sexual content, strong language, or other adult themes. TV-MA is the highest rating for television programming, and it is similar to the R rating used for, Disney+ series, shows and movies. On Netflix, TV-MA means that the show is only appropriate for adults and may contain explicit violence, uncensored sex scenes, bloodshed, coarse language, and other mature content. Netflix sets maturity ratings by the frequency and impact of mature content in a title, such as the amount of violence, sex, adult language, nudity, or substance use that may be present. The TV-MA rating is not recommended for children under the age of 17

Parental Controls for Mature Content

Parents can block specific shows or set up parental controls on streaming platforms to restrict access to TV-MA programs.

Blocking TV-MA Programs

To ensure that TV-MA content is not accessible to underage viewers, here are some ways to block TV-MA programs:

  1. Utilize parental controls on your television or streaming platform: Many televisions and streaming platforms, such as Netflix, offer parental control settings that allow you to restrict access to specific ratings, including TV-MA. These controls require a password or PIN to access restricted content.
  2. Set up user profiles for younger viewers: If you share a streaming platform with other family members, create separate user profiles for children or teenagers. This way, you can customize the content restrictions based on their age and maturity level.
  3. Use cable or satellite provider restrictions: Some cable and satellite providers offer additional features to block specific channels or ratings. Contact your service provider to inquire about these options.
  4. Explore third-party parental control software: Various software programs provide enhanced parental control features for both television and online streaming. Research different options and choose one that suits your needs.
  5. Have an open communication with your children: While blocking TV-MA programs is essential, it is equally important to have ongoing discussions about appropriate media consumption with your children. Teach them about the importance of following age guidelines and why certain content may not suit them.
  6. Regularly monitor viewing habits: Keep track of what your children are watching by occasionally reviewing their viewing history on streaming platforms or checking their favorite TV shows on cable/satellite guides.

Setting up Parental Controls on Streaming Platforms

Setting up parental controls on streaming platforms is crucial for ensuring that children are not exposed to TV-MA rated content. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up these controls:

  1. Navigate to the account settings or preferences section of your streaming platform.
  2. Look for the “Parental Controls” or “Content Restrictions” option and click on it.
  3. Create a PIN or password that will be required to access or change these settings.
  4. Choose the level of content restriction you want to apply. Most platforms offer different age – based categories like “Children,” “Teenagers,” and “Adults.” Select the appropriate level for your child.
  5. If available, customize further by choosing specific content filters such as violence, sexual content, or strong language.
  6. Save your changes and exit the settings menu.


In conclusion, TV-MA is a television rating that stands for “Mature Audiences.” It signifies content intended for adults and may contain explicit languageviolencesexual content, or other adult themes.

This rating is specifically designed to be viewed by those aged 17 and above and may not be suitable for children. Understanding the meaning of TV-MA helps viewers make informed decisions about the type of content they consume.


1. Is mature equivalent to an R-rated movie?

While TV-MA and R-rated movies contain mature content, they are not equivalent. The TV-MA rating is primarily used for television shows, while the R-rating is specifically for movies. However, both ratings warn that the material may be inappropriate or offensive for younger audiences.

2. Are there subcategories within the TV rating?

Yes, within the TV-MA rating, there are three subcategories: MA-L (for strong language), MA-S (for sexual situations), and MA-V (for graphic violence). These additional labels help provide more specific information about the type of mature content present in a given program.

3. Can children watch Mature programs with parental guidance?

While some parents might allow their children to watch specific TV-MA programs with supervision, it’s generally advised against due to the explicit nature of such content. Ratings exist to guide viewers in making informed choices about what they consume, and parental discretion is strongly recommended when it comes to age-inappropriate material like those rated TV-MA.

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